February 10, 2014 | Tom Suddes

Why Mindfulness Is the Antidote to Multitasking

I saw this over the weekend. My (last?) thought on last week’s theme of FOCUS.

“Research into success indicates that we’re expanding our skills the most when we’re deeply immersed in a difficult, demanding task–the feeling of FLOW you get from constructing a new algorithm, perfecting a pitch deck, or prototyping a product.

But that feeling of FLOW can only happen when we’ve fully invested our attention.”

Here’s the article in Fast Company, Why Mindfulness is the Antidote to Multitasking. I’ve captured the guts in the quote above.

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February 7, 2014 | Tom Suddes

Busyness and the Workaholic Badge of Honor

To close out this week’s thoughts on FOCUS:

  • “71% of people believe they would become more productive if they FOCUSED more on top priorities at the expense of lower priorities.”  (However) “Over half of the same group believe they would simultaneously lose respect from their peers and their boss.” 
    This comes from Nick Tasler, HBR blogger, author and CEO of Global Consulting and Training Company in IT’S TIME TO PUT YOUR STRATEGY ON A DIET. He opens with David Packard’s quip: “More companies die from overeating than starvation.”  Tasler has four lessons that are certainly worth the read.
  • “The essence of strategy is choosing what NOT to do?”  This comes from Michael Porter, strategy guru of all gurus.  Again, this becomes a huge part of FOCUS … deciding what NOT to do!
  • And, finally, a terrific article from the New York Times on THE ‘BUSY’ TRAP.  This wonderful post by Tim Kreider is so good that I sent it to my family.  Urge you to take a moment from your “crazy busy” day/schedule to read this.  It’s geared towards parenting and children … but huge application to our professional lives.
    Here’s the last line:

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February 7, 2014 | Kerry Suddes

2014 Sales Boot Camp: ‘Super Early Bird’ Opportunity

Join us on June 17th and 18th at Eagle Creek (our beautiful 50-acre headquarters) to explore the For Impact Point of View and Sales Process. 

Our Sales Boot Camp is focused on frameworks and skill building – You will leave with the the knowledge you need to simplify your message and funding rationale and take your organization to the next level.

This one time per year opportunity is perfect for organizational alums, new hires or anyone looking to hone their individual skills –  a great personal and professional development opportunity!

Sales Boot Camp is a high-energy, two-day session focused on:

  • How to execute against a sales process (for major gifts, campaign gifts, transformational gifts, etc)
  • How to build and maximize relationships
  • How to build and lead an effective team
  • How to ask, close and follow-up

Register before February 18th to take advantage of Super Early Bird Pricing!

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February 7, 2014 | Tom Suddes

This Sunday, February 9th, Marks the 50th Anniversary of the Beatles Performing on the Ed Sullivan Show in New York!

I was one of the estimated 73 million Americans who tuned in to watch the show. It was the Fab Four’s first visit to the United States.

No real point to this post … except that it’s hard to believe it’s been 50 years.

Special Note: I also remember there was a guy on the show that night spinning six plates on sticks. I sometimes use that as a great example of time to balance our lives. Still not sure how he did it.

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February 6, 2014 | Tom Suddes


Yesterday, Microsoft announced Satya Nadella as its next CEO, the third in the company’s history. Almost every article I have read on this so far mentioned that his primary and immediate objective is around FOCUS.  (For Microsoft, it looks like it means mobile and cloud … to “empower people to do amazing things”.

Here is his first letter to the all of the employees if you haven’t seen it.  Gotta love this quote: “I am here because we have unparalleled capability to make an IMPACT.”

When Steve Jobs went back to Apple after the Sculley disaster, his primary objective was also around FOCUS.  He cut 29 products to 4!  (Should have been 3, but still …)

When Larry Page returned to the top job at Google in 2011, he said, “Ever since taking over as CEO, I have FOCUSED much of my energy on increasing Google’s VELOCITY and EXECUTION.”  Again, a simple focus.

Jim Collins explains the Power of Focus with his ‘hedgehog’ concept.  In GOOD TO GREAT, his idea of FOCUS is doing one thing and doing it well.  He uses the parable of the clever, devious fox and the simple hedgehog.  Fox keeps coming up with new ideas to eat the hedgehog, but the hedgehog always responds with the same thing:  Rolling into a thorny ball.

Peter Drucker and Tom Peters have both used the term ‘monomaniacs with a mission’ to explain the success of single-minded and focused individuals. They both talk about individuals and small groups who through extreme focus, resolve and passion have had an impact way out of proportion to their size.


Here are 3 books that can be a great resource to help you with this challenge of FOCUS.

  • THE POWER OF FOCUS.  Great book by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen (of Chicken Soup fame) and Les Hewitt.
    Simple summary:  The #1 reason that stops people from getting what they want is a LACK OF FOCUS.  People who FOCUS on what they want, prosper.  Those who don’t, struggle.
    Special Note.  Some really, really, really great stuff in here on ASK for what you want.
  • SOAR WITH YOUR STRENGTHS.  There have been a ton of great books out lately on FOCUS ON YOUR STRENGTHS.  This was my first exposure to this concept in 1992 by Donald Clifton and Paula Nelson.  Clifton was the Founder and Chairman of SRI Gallop.  The books lead off with the greatest story ever about FOCUSING ON STRENGTHS, called Animal School.  Best and simplest nugget:  Pick one strength and pursue it.
    Note:  Shane Parrish in Farnam Street blog mentioned Warren Buffet’s Mental Model around Circle of Competence.  Basically, Buffet says that if you stay in your Circle of Competence (what you know), you will achieve success.
  • THE ONE THING.  Great book by Gary Keller, Chairman of the Board and Co-Founder of Keller Williams Realty, largest real estate company in the United States.  Simple summary is focusing on the ONE THING creates huge exponential success. For more.



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February 3, 2014 | Tom Suddes


Synchronicity or serendipity?

Just reading my ROTMAN MANAGEMENT, (the Magazine of Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto). The Winter 2014 edition is all about METACOGNITION … or ‘THINKING ABOUT THINKING’.

There was a great Thought Leader interview with Daniel Goleman who just published FOCUS: THE HIDDEN DRIVER OF EXCELLENCE.

Here is the article link. Some really good stuff on the importance of FOCUS.

Then, today, got my January book notes from Jim Mahoney at Battle for Kids. Yep. The book is: Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence!

Here are Jim’s wonderful book notes.

FOCUS is being like a laser … not a blow torch or a flame thrower.

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January 31, 2014 | Tom Suddes


Note:  I was with five different groups this week … speaking, training, coaching.  At every gathering, somebody or multi-bodies came up and said, “Thank you for giving me PERMISSION for _________.”  That triggered this post.


  • And, I give you PERMISSION to BE FOR IMPACT!

I also give you PERMISSION to use all of our FRAMEWORKS, IDEAS, NUGGETS … to help you FUND THE VISION of your organization.

FWIW.  I also give you PERMISSION to take care of YOURSELF!  Family.  Personal and Professional Development.  Taking your ‘birthdate’ off every month.

SPECIAL NOTE:  Many of you have a Social Entrepreneur mindset:  You ask for FORGIVENESS not PERMISSION … now you can have both.

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January 29, 2014 | Tom Suddes

Net, Net, Net Check!

I had a truly energizing session with 500+ members and board members of the Northwest Development Officers Association.

These are my ‘PEEPS‘! As I told them, I have been in development and fundraising for 40 years. I LOVE sharing ideas and nuggets and challenging development professionals.

Half the room raised their hands with under two years development experience! The other half had 20+ years give or take.

Even with this incredibly diverse audience, I think almost everyone ‘got‘ the whole
IMPACT DRIVES INCOME thing. (Just sayin’ … what’s not to get?)

What I wish I would have said, as I shared the Controlling Insight, the challenge to BE FOR IMPACT and the 9 Guiding Principles, was the following:

“The #1 goal (job) of the Green people (development, advancement, etc.) is to write a net, net, net check to the Blue people (the organization/cause).”

What is a ‘net, net, net check’ you say? It’s a real estate term. It means after ALL expenses, including the personnel, entire operating budget, etc. (thus the triple net) … it’s the check that development writes to save lives, transform lives, change lives.

I know a lot of organizations where the ROI is ridiculously small when it comes to cost of fundraising. In my crazy ideal world, that number would be 5¢ on the dollar … not 50¢ or 75¢ or 95¢.

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January 29, 2014 | Kerry Suddes

Thank You NDOA!

Thank you to the Northwest Development Officer’s Association for having Tom as your Keynote Speaker yesterday!  You can access Tom’s Presentation Slides here.

It was a fantastic session and we were excited to meet some of the 500+ Development Officers and Board Members in attendance.  A special Thank You to the NDOA team for a seamless experience – You rock!

Attendees are invited to take advantage of a free coaching call with For Impact. We are offering 20 coaching slots and you can reserve by sending an email to Nicole Winfield.

If you would like to take advantage of this free phone coaching please Include a particular challenge we could address during a call.

If you signed up to receive the For Impact Weekly W.O.W. email we have added you to the list.  If you still need to sign up, simply click here.

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January 27, 2014 | Tom Suddes

Begging for Change

On way to Seattle to speak with 500 Development/Advancement Officers.  Synopsis … Pike Street Market – Robb Pike, a Suddes Group rock star – Robb’s friend Robert Egger.

There is no way for me to pull together some radical, transformational ideas around CHANGE without talking about Robert Egger’s wonderful book called, Begging For Change (Harper, 2004).

Egger is a living, fire-breathing Social Entrepreneur who ran the D.C. Central Kitchen. Twenty years ago, he asked a simple question:

“Why aren’t there more RESULTS from 84 million people contributing $200 billion to good causes?” (Figures, 1988)

Today that question has grown to 100 million people and $385 billion. Egger’s answer reinforces the IMPACT drives INCOME insights, epiphany and point of view.

“Non profits must STOP CHASING MONEY…
and START focusing on the TRUE WORK AT HAND …

He goes on to say that “most non profits have veered away from their original missions and are now caught up in the maddening cycle of chasing after (begging) for money …

I’ve shared the podium with Robert, and heard how he challenged audiences to call a “National Time Out”… so that everyone around the country could ask themselves what the hell they’ve been doing and why.

(I wish I could just give you this book, however that is not very feasible, so go to Amazon and order a copy for yourself. Just read the prologue, the intro, the epilogue and Robert’s Rules and you’ll be WOW’d.) Read more

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